House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ensure.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Saint-Jean (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2021, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Defence November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new defence policy is a forward-looking plan that includes key investments in Canadian Armed Forces equipment.

We plan to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18s with 88 advanced fighter aircraft. The competition to permanently replace the Royal Canadian Air Force fighter fleet will be open and transparent and will happen within this term.

We will continue to explore the purchase of fighter aircraft to enable the Royal Canadian Air Force to fully meet our Norad and NATO obligations simultaneously until the new permanent fleet is fully operational.

We are determined to make sure the Canadian Armed Forces are well equipped and well trained to keep us strong and secure at home and fully engaged in the world.

National Defence November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question and for his interest in National Defence matters.

In the new defence policy released on June 7, the government reiterated its commitment to providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with the equipment it needs to conduct its operations.

The policy clearly states our intention to procure 88 next-generation fighter jets to replace the aging CF-18 fleet. We need 88 fighter jets, but we know that our air force currently does not have 88 fighter jets, which is why we need an interim fleet.

We will hold an open and transparent competition for the permanent replacement of the CF-18s.

A fleet of modern fighter jets is essential for defending Canada and North America and for contributing to international peace and stability. We agreed to acquire an interim fleet until a permanent replacement is in place to ensure that we have 88 fighter jets to help us meet our obligations.

We had serious discussions with the U.S. government for the purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighters from Boeing, as my colleague mentioned. However, our government strongly disagrees with the decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose countervailing duties on Bombardier's C Series aircraft at Boeing's request.

Our government stands up for the interests of the Canadian aerospace industry and its workers.

Naturally, we have ended our relationship with Boeing, a company that has gone after our industry and wants to put thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Canadians out of work.

Our government will remain actively involved in the investigations taking place in the United States, including at the United States International Trade Commission, and we will defend the interests of Bombardier, the Canadian aerospace industry, and our aerospace workers.

I am sure my colleague opposite would agree that this is a very unfortunate situation. In the meantime, we are continuing our efforts to procure a fleet of 88 next-generation fighter jets.

We will launch an open and transparent competition for the permanent replacement for our fighter fleet during this term. The replacement fleet for the CF-18 fighter jets must be versatile, resilient, and interoperable with our allies and partners in Norad and NATO.

Preliminary consultations with potential suppliers are under way, and we hope to release the bid documentation within this term. We are not going to cut any corners in this process. We want to be sure to engage suppliers.

In the meantime, we are taking steps to ensure that Canada remains a reliable partner that our Norad and NATO allies can count on.

First, we are investing in our existing CF-18 fleet. We are going to make sure it continues to operate effectively and reliably until the new fighter fleet arrives.

Second, we are also exploring the acquisition of interim fighter aircraft to supplement our current fleet. Buying F-18s from the Royal Australian Air Force is one of the options on the table.

The actions we have taken will help us determine the best way to supplement the CF-18 fleet so that the Royal Canadian Air Force can fully meet our Norad and NATO obligations simultaneously until the new permanent fleet is fully operational.

Families, Children and Social Development November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, all Canadian children are entitled to an equal opportunity to succeed, and we believe that quality early learning and child care services provide a solid foundation for their future success.

That is why the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour is working closely with the provinces and territories to offer early learning and child care systems that improve the lives of Canadian children and their families.

Three-year funding agreements with the provinces and territories have already been signed under the multilateral early learning and child care framework. By signing these agreements with the provinces and territories, we have taken historic measures to support Canadian families, with an emphasis on helping families who need child care the most.

Families, Children and Social Development November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for raising the important issue of child care in Canada in this House.

Family is the most important thing in life. We want our children to be happy and to have everything they need for a good start in life.

Children are Canada's future. We need to do everything we can to help them reach their full potential.

Sadly, only one in four children in Canada has access to quality child care. For many families, the lack of affordable, high-quality child care leads to tough choices.

Some parents are forced to sacrifice their career because they cannot afford child care. Others work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

No one should have to make tough choices like these. Child care should be inclusive.

What are we doing about this? Our government recognizes that high quality child care in the early years of a child's life is crucial to social, emotional, and cognitive development.

Last year, in budget 2016, our government invested $500 million in early learning and child care, including $100 million in early learning and child care for indigenous children. That is only the beginning.

This year, in budget 2017, we are also proposing to invest another $7 billion over 10 years to support flexible, affordable, high-quality child care and create spaces across the country. We will get there.

On June 12, federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed on the creation of a multilateral early learning and child care framework. This framework sets out a long-term vision to ensure that all children can experience an enriching environment of quality learning and early child care.

Since then, three other provinces have entered into bilateral agreements, and in the coming weeks and months, we will continue to work with our provincial and territorial partners.

A total of $1.2 billion will be allocated to address each jurisdiction's unique early learning and child care needs.

Together, we are going to develop action plans, monitor progress, and ensure that low- and middle-income families have improved access to child care.

What is more, we are in the process of developing a framework for early learning and child care with our indigenous partners, a framework that will reflect the unique cultural needs of first nations, Inuit, and Métis children across Canada.

We are working closely with the provinces and territories, stakeholders, and experts to improve data collection and the dissemination of key early learning and child care information.

We are investing $95 million to close data gaps in order to better understand what child care looks like in Canada and track progress.

We are also investing $100 million for innovation practices on early learning and child care so that we can find new ways of helping our children reach their full potential.

Together we will give every child in this country what they deserve: an equal opportunity to succeed.

National Defence November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new defence policy is realistic and its funding was carefully planned within the fiscal framework so as to be secure.

Unlike the Conservatives, who left us just enough to fund six surface combatants, we are funding 15 ships and we will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are well equipped.

We also have software that allows anyone within the department to understand the proposed initiatives within the policy and to track the progress made. Every defence team leader has this tracking software on their desktop and everyone can get involved in the implementation of various initiatives.

This system is updated regularly and we hope that this tool will become an important motivator for employees. Within the Department of National Defence, the message is clear. The minister, leadership, and the entire National Defence headquarters share a common goal and have just one wish, and that is to move forward and stay the course.

National Defence November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for this question. I know he is deeply dedicated to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, and I am grateful to him for it.

On June 7, the Minister of National Defence announced the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”.

This policy is a comprehensive, carefully considered plan for the next 20 years, and it is built around military members and their families.

This new policy is based on a solid commitment to increase funding to the Canadian Armed Forces by more than 70% over the next 10 years.

The new defence policy provides an additional $62.3 billion on a cash basis over 20 years. The money that was not spent in the first few years allowed us to build this fund, including $6.5 billion over the next six years.

This amount includes additional operational funding for maintaining existing equipment, as well as for new initiatives, plus additional funds for equipment and infrastructure. By 2026-27, the annual defence budget will be almost $33 billion. As the new deputy minister of defence said in committee on October 30:

...the launch of Canada's new defence policy has been monumental....a once in a generation opportunity.

The new defence policy is a clear acknowledgement of the importance of the Canadian Armed Forces. The funding plan we have committed to is supported by external costing experts and has been verified by external accounting firms.

This stable funding will also allow us to make major defence investments that meet our current needs while also enabling us to plan for the future.

Since taking office, our government has made great strides. The program to refit and modernize the Halifax-class frigate is almost complete, and the program to deliver tactical armoured patrol vehicles is going well. In addition, now the entire fleet of light armoured vehicles is going to be upgraded. We have also signed a contract for the new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. We are about to post the invitations to tender for the permanent replacement for our fighter fleet, and the construction of the Arctic offshore patrol ships is moving forward nicely.

Furthermore, in the new policy, we committed to building 15 Canadian surface combatants and two joint support ships to ensure that the Royal Canadian Navy has the capabilities required to fulfill the missions it is assigned.

Canadians can see from our actions that we are committed to ensuring that the Canadian Armed Forces and their personnel are well equipped and properly supported. Canadians can see that in our new policy.

Canada must get involved in the world. We have an important role to play, but to get involved in the world we must first ensure that our country is safe.

The new defence policy and its sound funding plan will ensure that thanks to the Canadian Armed Forces, Canada will be strong and safe and fully engaged in the world. That is what Canadians expect and that is what we are committed to.

Questions on the Order Paper November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as clearly laid out in Canada’s new defence policy, a modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty, including in our northern skies, enabling continental security, and contributing to international peace and stability.

Through the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, the government has committed to an open, fair, and transparent competition to replace our aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets with 88 modern airframes.

We have simultaneously engaged governments and our partners in industry to explore the option of procuring an interim fleet of fighter jets to fill the fighter capability gap. Our goal is to ensure that we are able to meet our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously, while safeguarding our ability to be responsive to threats domestically.

The Government of Canada is continuing to explore the potential acquisition of 18 interim aircraft to supplement the CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet until the completion of the transition to the permanent replacement aircraft. No decision has been made yet. The government had previously considered the possibility of acquiring 18 Super Hornets. We are also actively looking at other options through discussions with other F-18 users, including Australia. Once all of the information is available, the options will be considered to assess whether they can meet our requirements at a level of capability, cost, schedule, and economic value that is acceptable to Canada.

The operational life span of this interim fleet would start at delivery and not end before the completion of the transition to the CF-18 permanent replacement aircraft.

Employment Insurance November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear to the members of the House that our government took immediate action to improve the employment insurance system for Canadians across the country, specifically to make it more effective in light of current labour market conditions.

For instance, thanks to our government's actions last year, more Canadians are eligible for employment insurance support, the job search rules have been simplified, and more assistance is being offered to people hit by the economic downturn.

A number of improvements have already been made, and we continue to try to find new ways to improve our employment insurance system. We are determined to support Canadians when they need it most.

Employment Insurance November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot for giving me the opportunity to talk about the measures our government is taking to help Canadian workers.

We have been consulting Canadians in recent months. These consultations are very important because they will help us to identify needs and determine the best measures to take to help Canadians families deal with growing pressures.

We have taken real action to support Canadians. For example, our government has made a series of improvements to the employment insurance system in order to make it more consistent with the realities of today's labour market and thereby respond to the needs of Canadian workers and employers.

Some of the improvements that have already come into effect are the elimination of the higher EI eligibility requirements that restricted access for new entrants and re-entrants to the labour market, the simplification of job search responsibilities, the temporary extension of EI benefits in the 15 economic regions that were most hard hit by the drop in commodity prices, the implementation of a more flexible working while on claim pilot project, the extension of work-sharing agreements, and the reduction of the two-week waiting period to one week.

Most of these changes were made during the past year, so that more Canadians could get the help they need, when they need it. Some of these measures are particularly beneficial to seasonal workers, such as the working while on claim pilot project.

This pilot project helps employment insurance claimants stay connected to the labour market and increase their overall income by allowing them to keep receiving a portion of their employment insurance benefits along with all earnings from their job. This means seasonal workers receiving employment insurance can work part-time during the off-season without being penalized by having their overall benefits reduced. This pilot project ensures seasonal workers are better off accepting available work.

Furthermore, by reversing the 2012 changes to employment insurance and simplifying job search responsibilities, we made the obligation to search for and accept available work the same for all claimants, regardless of claim history. These measures benefit all Canadian workers.

As these measures show, our government is taking immediate action to improve Canada's employment insurance program for all Canadians across the country, so it can more efficiently meet the needs of today's labour market.

We want to make sure that the employment insurance program provides workers, families, and the regions with the security they need. We are committed to helping middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join them.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is determined to ensure that newcomers, including refugees, integrate and contribute fully to the Canadian economy and their community. Asylum claimants are not eligible for federal settlement services until they receive a positive refugee determination. Once an asylum claim is accepted and sent to the IRB, the federal government covers the cost of eligible health services.

As the asylum seekers served by the Inland Refugee Society are claimants who are not yet eligible for federally-funded settlement programming, this organization does not qualify to receive federal funding under the Settlement Program for that group of clients. The provinces and territories are responsible for providing most support services pending a positive refugee determination, services such as social assistance, education, health services, and housing.

We are carrying on in Canada's noble tradition of providing protection to those who are seeking refuge and we are committed to doing so responsibly and effectively.